Inducible nitric oxide synthase knockout mice exhibit resistance to the multiple organ failure induced by zymosan

Salvatore Cuzzocrea, Emanuela Mazzon, Laura Dugo, Alberto Barbera, Tommaso Centorrino, Antonio Ciccolo, Maria Teresa Fonti, Achille P. Caputi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, by comparing the responses in wild-type mice (+/+) and mice lacking (-/-) the inducible (or type 2) nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), we investigated the role played by iNOS in the development of non-septic shock. A severe inflammatory response characterized by peritoneal exudation, high peritoneal levels of nitrate/nitrite, and leukocyte infiltration into peritoneal exudate was induced by zymosan administration in iNOS +/+ mice. This inflammatory process coincided with the damage of lung, liver, and small intestine, as assessed by histological examination. Lung, small intestine, and liver myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, indicative of neutrophil infiltration and lipid peroxidation, were significantly increased in zymosan-treated iNOS +/+ mice. Peritoneal administration of zymosan in the iNOS +/+ mice induced also a significant increase in the plasma levels of nitrite/nitrate and in the levels of peroxynitrite at 18 h after zymosan challenge. Immunohistochemical examination demonstrated a marked increase in the immunoreactivity to nitrotyrosine and to poly ADP-ribose synthetase (PARS) in the lung, liver, and intestine of zymosan-treated iNOS +/+ mice. The intensity and degree of nitrotyrosine and PARS were markedly reduced in tissue section from zymosan-iNOS -/-mice. Zymosan-treated iNOS -/-mice showed a significantly decreased mortality and inhibition of the development of peritonitis. In addition, iNOS -/-mice showed a significant protection on the development of organ failure since tissue injury and MPO were reduced in lung, small intestine, and liver. Furthermore, a significant reduction of suppression of mitochondrial respiration, DNA strand breakage, and reduction of cellular levels of NAD+ was observed in ex vivo macrophages harvested from the peritoneal cavity of iNOS -/-mice subjected to zymosan-induced non-septic shock. In vivo treatment with aminoguanidine (300 mg/kg 1 and 6 h after zymosan administration) significantly prevents the inflammatory process. Taken together, our results clearly demonstrate that iNOS plays an important role in zymosan-induced non-septic shock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


  • Free radicals
  • Inflammation
  • iNOS
  • Peroxynitrite
  • Zymosan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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